Updated: Jul 8
Updated 8 July 2023
Dylan Norman John Ehler had just turned 3 years old on April 16, 2020, one month after Nova Scotia had completely shut down due to COVID 19. The weekend before that, the family had celebrated Easter. For one of those occasions his grandmother, Dorothy Parsons, bought him brand new rubber boots. He went missing from his grandmother's backyard in Truro, Nova Scotia only three weeks later. His brand new rubber boots were all that was found of the active toddler.
Dylan's grandmother's backyard is located on the corner of Elizabeth and Queen Streets in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Dylan was last seen wearing a green winter jacket with USA patches and a faux fur hood, a red dinosaur t-shirt, and camo jogging pants. The rubber boots he was wearing that day were found 6 and 7 hours later, submerged in two different locations in nearby Lepper Brook. Despite extensive search and rescue missions concentrated on the waterways for the first 6 days he was missing and searches by his family and close friends every weekend over the past two and a half years, no other trace of the toddler have been found. His case remains open. It is possible he drown or was abducted. Dylan is now five-and-a-half-years-old.
At the time of his disappearance, Dylan was about 3" tall and weighed 32 pounds. He is a caucasian male with brown hair. His left eye is hazel, while his right eye is half hazel and half blue, split vertically.
It is important to note for the timeline below that Jason and Ashley had a no contact order on the day that Dylan went missing. This is not to cast suspicion on the parents but because the no contact order forbid direct communication between Ashley and Jason and also forced them to live apart temporarily. Ashley was in the family home with Dylan and his older half-sister, Lily, and Jason was staying with his mother. Both Jason and Ashley communicated with each other through their mothers during this time period. Also, Ashley's cell phone was broken so she could not be contacted directly by anyone on her cell phone.
It should also be noted that the names of people mentioned below are not mentioned to implicate them in Dylan's disappearance. Let us please not jump to conclusions. The information below is provided to help lay down what is believed to be the timeline in hopes that someone reading this who may not have realized they had information that can help, may contact police to help locate Dylan.
Please focus on Dylan and Dylan only and not on placing blame and judging anyone named at anytime during the timeline or at anytime when discussing Dylan's disappearance.
10 - 10:30 am - Ashley drops Dylan off at her mother's house, Dorothy Parsons, located on the corner of Queen and Elizabeth Streets in Truro, Nova Scotia. Dorothy and her husband Jeff Parsons live on the top floor of the house. Her in-laws live on the main level of the house.
Here is a video that Ashley posted on her YouTube Channel in September of 2021 describing her memories of the day Dylan went missing (Dylan's parents, Ashley Brown and Jason Ehler have been interviewed on many podcasts. They both have YouTube channels where they post updates about Dylan's case as well. There were many news articles in the first few months of his disappearance and both W5 and Nancy Grace Crime Stories have covered his case [links to those are on my original post on Bluenoser])
10:30 - 11 am - Ashley and her mother talk for a bit and then Ashley leaves to have coffee with a friend for a few hours
Noon - Dorothy's husband, Jeff Parsons (not Dylan's biological grandfather), comes home from work for lunch.
12:50 pm - Jeff Parsons leaves to go back to work
Shortly before 1:15 pm - Dorothy takes Dylan and her 5 month old puppy outside in her backyard.
1:15 pm - Dorothy turns to tie her dog on her lead, distracted for about 18 seconds (she reenacted this for the police and they timed it to be 18 seconds - in original news reports this was mentioned as 10 seconds). When she turns back around, Dylan is gone.
1:15 - 1:24 pm - Dorothy states that she immediately runs to the road (I believe she means Queen Street) thinking Dylan may have run there. If he ran off she does not know which direction he went. Neighbours hear Dorothy calling Dylan's name and come to help. She instructs at least one neighbour to call 911. Another neighbour heads immediately to the brook to search for Dylan and does not find him or any evidence that he was near the brook.
See below for 5 pictures showing the different views of the backyard from where Dylan disappeared, how close he was to Queen Street, where he could have run to, etc.
Picture 1 shows the grandmother's backyard. The X marks the spot where she says she tied the dog to the lead and where she last saw Dylan. According to the reenactment, Dylan ran from that spot and disappeared from sight in 18 seconds.
Picture 2 shows the various directions in which Dylan could have run from his grandmother's backyard. The X shows the backyard. The big arrow pointing from the sky downwards indicates the path where the police believe he ran through the woods and to the brook. He could have turned right onto Elizabeth Street (picture 3) which would bring him to Queen Street. Once at the intersection of Queen Street and Elizabeth Street he could have turned left or right onto Queen Street. Queen Street is the main street and runs a long distance in both directions. He also could have run straight across Queen Street. He could have turned left out of the backyard and run down Elizabeth Street (picture 4). He could have turned left and made another quick left in between his grandmother's house and her next door neighbour to make his way through the woods and to the brook (picture 5).
Picture 3 This is the view from the end of the driveway in the grandmother's backyard looking toward Queen Street and the distance Dylan would have had to run to make it to the intersection of Queen and Elizabeth Streets. It is not that short of a distance to Queen Street but if the grandmother had run in that direction and Dylan had already made his way onto Queen Street, travelling in either direction, there is a good chance she may have seen him if he had simply run off. But it does not take that long to abduct a child so if he had headed towards Queen Street that does seem like a scenario we cannot rule out.
Picture 4 If Dylan had turned left and run down Elizabeth Street, this is what it would look like for him to get to the end of Elizabeth Street. He would run by every other house on Elizabeth Street and if he did disappear in only 18 seconds it seems hard to imagine he would not have been seen by a neighbour or the grandmother running in that direction.
Picture 5 If Dylan had turned left onto Elizabeth Street or had run through the opening between the partial fence and the hedges and then made another quick left by the hedges and run between the hedges and the neighbour's house, it does seem plausible that after 18 seconds, if the grandmother, realizing Dylan is gone, heads straight out onto Elizabeth Street and then towards Queen Street to look for Dylan, that she could have missed him running there. However, it should be noted that although Jason and Ashley admit that Dylan is a runner, Jason explains that it is a game to him. He doesn't just run off and not return, he likes to run off and then turn around and wait for you to run after him. It doesn't seem like it is in character for Dylan to have just gone on an adventure without looking for the adult with whom he is trying to engage in his game. Dylan had never been to the brook before either so would not have known it was there. The running theory is that the brook was higher than normal that day and running fast enough that Dylan may have heard it from his grandmother's backyard and been drawn to the sound of the water. Remember the new boots that his grandmother had given him? They were too big for him but rather than return them, Dorothy and Ashley figured he would soon grow into them. The path to the brook through the woods is not cleared and full of brush and rough terrain. It would take an adult a good three to five minutes to make it to the brook in these conditions and twice as long for a toddler in a big winter jacket and oversized boots. Don't forget that a neighbour searched by and in the brook within a few minutes of Dylan's disappearance. Even if he had not searched that area until after 8-9 minutes, Dylan likely would have just reached the brook at that time. Here is a clip of Jason and W5's, Avery Haines, walking the path Dylan may have taken to the brook. On May 6, 2020, the trees were still bare, unlike in this clip, but it gives you an idea of the terrain and growth Dylan would have had to navigate.
Scroll through the slideshow of the five pictures below:
1:24 pm - A neighbour calls 911
1:29 pm - Truro Police arrive on the scene within 5 minutes of the call. Dorothy has stated that she told police immediately that she thought Dylan had been taken.
3:00 pm - Jason Ehler arrives on scene. He had been trying to reach Dorothy Parsons earlier in the day (10:30/11 am and then again at 2:15 pm) as he wanted to see Dylan but was not getting an answer so he drove to her house to find out where Dylan was (he did not know Ashley had dropped him off to Dorothy). He found out his son was missing only when he arrived on scene
3:00 pm - Norman Brown, Ashley's father, cannot contact her via cell phone as hers was broken so he drove to get Ashley to inform her that Dylan was missing
3:45 pm - Search and Rescue arrive on scene
4:32 pm - Non intrusive public alert issued by the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office (alert remains active until 9:59 am May 7, 2020). NS EMO cannot send out the alert until directed by police. EMO received the approved message about Dylan from the Truro Police at 4:13pm.
7:20 pm - first boot found submerged in Lepper Brook in a shopping cart that was also submerged in the brook
8:43 pm - second boot found submerged in Lepper Brook in a turn that leads into Salmon River
In the videos below Jason takes you on a tour of Lepper Brook and shows you where Dylan's boots were found and the debris that was in the brook and why he (and many others) feel it was impossible for Dylan's body to have flowed out of the brook if he had indeed fallen in and drowned
The YouTube video below was posted in June 2023 and Jason shows how Lepper Brook has changed and also takes viewers closer to the mouth of the Salmon River where Dylan's second boot was found
In the picture below, the first x marks the spot where Dylan was last seen around 1:15pm on May 6, 2020. 911 was called at 1:24pm and the police were on the scene within minutes. Dylan's first boot was located at 7:20pm submerged in a shopping cart in the brook. His second boot was found at 8:43pm also submerged at the end of Lepper Brook, around a turn where it starts to enter into the Salmon River. The orange line depicts the approximate path the police think Dylan took that day, walking through the thick brush and accidentally falling into the Lepper Brook, losing his boots before being swept out of the brook into the Salmon River, then into the Cobequid Bay, the Minas Basin, and then the Bay of Fundy (an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean).
Police believe Dylan accidentally drown and was swept out to the Atlantic Ocean. Below is a
small scale map demonstrating the distance Dylan's body would have travelled just to reach the Cobequid Bay - his last known location is circled in red.
For those unfamiliar with the Bay of Fundy...the Bay of Fundy is home to the highest tides in the world and an amazing phenomena known as tidal bores. According to the Fundy Discovery Site a tidal bore is "a tumbling wavefront which moves upstream in a river, announcing the arrival of an incoming tide. Tidal bores occur in regions of the world that have large tides. However, a tidal bore does not occur in every river flooded by a high tide." When the tide recedes, the ocean floor (and river beds) is left completely exposed.
There was just one tidal bore on May 6 at 11:50am. The next one was just after midnight on May 7, 2020. There were two tidal bores on May 13 (which was the date of the mannequin test) - one at 5:36am and one at 6:20pm. These readings for the time of the tidal bores are from the Fundy Discovery Site which is about a 10 minute drive from Elizabeth Street (where Dylan was last seen). As mentioned above, tidal bores only happen when the tide is coming in and in Truro they occur about an hour before high tide as the river will continue to rise for about an hour after the tidal bore arrives.
Because the Salmon River is so narrow, the tide can go from low to high tide in just one hour. This is footage of a Tidal Bore in the Salmon River in Truro, Nova Scotia from 2016.
According to Jason Ehler, who provides video footage of the mannequin test, the police had to remove the weights from the mannequin as the weighted mannequin continued to get caught up in Lepper Brook. Even with the weights removed the mannequin continued to get caught up and had to be helped into the Salmon River by the professionals in the kayaks as seen in this video:
Jason Ehler searches for Dylan almost every day, walking the banks of the Lepper Brook, the Salmon River, Cobequid Bay, etc. Ashley and Jason want desperately to find their son. Is he still alive? Did he drown? Was he abducted? Did he really disappear in only 18 seconds or is the timeline off? People often ask Jason why he searches the waterways if he does not 100% believe Dylan drown. The answer is simple - he needs to do something and he is looking for any clue at all as to Dylan's whereabouts. Given that the police theory is that he drown, Jason searches there for his son or for any evidence besides the boots. After two and a half years of searching those waterways, he has not found a single piece of evidence that his son went in the water (he documents most of his searches on his YouTube channel). For readers who are new to the case, there is a train bridge that runs over Lepper Brook from which people feel the boots could have been thrown. Many experts have said that it sounds to them that the boots have been planted and that this is an abduction. Others feel all evidence points to him having fallen into Lepper Brook and subsequently swept out to sea.
If you have any information about the disappearance of Dylan Ehler please contact:
Who wants to be Dylan Ehler's voice? Who wants to dig deeper into his case and see if they can shed some light into his disappearance? Email me at email@example.com or message me on Facebook or Instagram at We the Missing to let me know you will be spreading his name here, there and everywhere, and helping his family find their missing loved one.
You can read my original post for even more information on Dylan Ehler's disappearance on Bluenoser.